The translation of nonbinary identities, orientations and related terms into Portuguese

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I'd like to begin this post by saying this is mostly my personal research and experience. It's entirely possible other people came up with separate translations/adaptations for some of the terms and concepts mentioned here. There are some examples of this that I know about, but this post is already very big and this is mostly a guide for where my translations/adaptations come from, not a complete dictionary or lexicon.

Nonbinary identities on the anglosphere

Nonbinary people are definitely not a new thing. Even if we only take modern white eurocentric cultures into account, as in, after queer communities in these societies decided orientation and gender are separate things and women who like women are still women and men who like men are still men, there is significant evidence that people didn't identify as binary genders existed even before the internet.

And, when internet communities became a thing, various websites were dedicated towards... well, nonbinary as an umbrella term was only coined and popularized this last decade, but there were communities and information pages out there for people outside the binary. Many of the terms used back then aren't used in the same ways anymore - for instance, "polygendered" was an umbrella term for people with more than one gender, no gender or "their own gender" (source), but nowadays polygender is mostly used in the context of someone who has more than one gender, or sometimes specifically more than 3 genders (since bigender, trigender and ogligender are existing terms that cover other possibilities).

But I guess back then maybe people didn't care too much about visibility or coming out to people who might need guides to understand? Or maybe nonbinary (or not binary) lusophone people with internet access just didn't think anyone could take their identities seriously and didn't bother trying to explain this stuff? Maybe there was some information but it got lost and no one cared enough to back it up? Or the few not binary people out there didn't see themselves in androgyne, bigender, genderqueer, neutrois and so on and instead only used already existing terms in Portuguese to explain their identities?

Whatever the case, it doesn't seem like any (or much) vocabulary of English origin referencing being outside of the binary ended up translated at that point in time. Transgender was translated as transgênero and then discarded by transsexual activists who were offended at the thought of getting lumped with non-transmedicalists and travestis (the term is only starting to be popularized now because of nonbinary and antitransmed activism, and even then in it's usually in its shortened form, "trans")... and then Tumblr happened.

The popularity social justice movements got on Tumblr made it so a bunch of young people who were initially just interested in personal blogging, fandom and/or memes started to learn about anticapitalism, feminism, and other kinds of social justice activism. It was also the first space a lot of previously separate queer communities began to interact with each other; one doesn't need to be subscribed to the genderfluid LJ community to know about issues genderfluid people face, since it might be reblogged by someone who draws cool fanart followed by that person.

This led to a bunch of bad things, but also a bunch of good things. One of these things was the nonbinary community around 2013 and 2015, when lots of new gender identity terms were coined to fill the vacuum existing labels didn't offer. Coining gender identities was seen as a good, important and/or cool thing by most non-transmedicalists as far as I remember seeing it, at least until exclusionist rhetoric was adopted by a ton of people after 2015-2017. After that, even inclusionist leaning blogs rarely dabbled into term coining or discussions, with coining labels and making flags being mostly left to a specific and unpopular corner of Tumblr.

(The story goes more or less the same for orientations, I'm just focusing on gender right now.)

Early translations of gender identities

So, I guess that explosion of terms a few years ago is when and/or why some lusophone people started translating some of this stuff. Most of the gender translations seem to have been made by Cari Rez Lobo, a pangender person who lives in Brazil and created and/or wrote significant parts of Espectometria Não-Binária (a blog) and Wiki Identidades (a wiki).

Here are some of the translations found at Wiki Identidades:

  • Agender → Agênero
  • Aliagender → Aliagênero
  • Ambigender → Ambigênero
  • Androgyne → Andrógine
  • Crystagender → Cristaline
  • Demigender → Demigênero
  • Demiboy = Demiboy
  • Demigirl = Demigirl
  • Deminonbinary → Demi-menine
  • Genderfluid → Gênero-fluido
  • Genderflux = Genderflux
  • Genderpivot = Genderpivot
  • Genderqueer = Genderqueer
  • Graygender → Graygênero
  • Neutrois = Neutrois
  • Nonbinary man → Homem não-binário
  • Nonbinary woman → Mulher não-binária
  • Transfeminine → Transfeminina
  • Transmasculine → Transmasculino

Some notes regarding these:

  • These identities are mostly translated in the most direct ways possible, to the point some terms just aren't translated. Most of the "Xgender" terms just become "Xgênero" (gênero meaning gender).

  • Crystagender, specifically, was adapted in a way no other identity was. Y is not a common letter in the Portuguese language - it's only used in words borrowed from other languages - so making an adaptation makes sense, but graygênero was translated as is and andrógine just replaces the Y with I (and adds the required ´ because of grammar rules), so it's an outlier regardless. I remember that it originated in a Tumblr post, but that was at Espectrometria Não-Binária, so it's not like another person translated a single word; it was the same person or a person on the same staff that made this decision.

  • Genderfluid was also an outlier: It got translated as gênero-fluido (literally: "fluid-gender") even though other terms beginning with gender were left as is.

  • Demiboy and demigirl weren't adapted/translated, deminonbinary was. I can think of two reasons for that: one is that nonbinary was considered too foreign or hard to write/pronounce, while boy and girl are relatively common words people find in lusophone spaces and media because of a bunch of factors that I can shortly explain as imperialism from the USA. The other reason is kind of contradictory, and to explain it (and the remaining notes) I must first explain a bit about grammar:

Gendered language in Portuguese

I don't know how easy or hard understanding this information will be for those who don't understand any heavily gendered languages, but it's rather relevant.

In English, there are basically two kinds of gendered words: pronouns (I'm including possessive adjectives here) and titles (nouns such as aunt/uncle or girl/boy).

Portuguese also has those, but it also has gendered articles and word endings.

(I say gendered as in associated to gender: there are plenty of people who use she/her who aren't women, and plenty of people who use he/him who aren't men, for instance.)

Many words that are titles in English are just the same nouns but with different word endings in Portuguese: for instance, girl is menina and boy is menino. Aunt is tia and uncle is tio. Girlfriend is namorada and boyfriend is namorado.

In some instances, that's great! It means we usually don't need lists of gender neutral and/or nonbinary words for such common things. However, when translating words related to gender, this can become kind of tricky.

The other reason I think some people might prefer using demigirl and demiboy instead of demimenina and demimenino is that, for instance, girl only means "young version of woman/the female gender", while menina may mean "young version of anyone who uses the equivalent of she/her pronouns".

So what if someone is, say, a demigirl who uses he/him pronouns? Should that person say he's a demimenina, even though that last letter may make people think he uses -a as an word ending, even though he probably wants to use o/ele/o as his language set (an equivalent to a pronoun set in English, with that last o being his word ending)? Or should he say he's a demimenino, using the correct word ending but making people think he's a demiboy instead?

What I would say is that demimenina usually means demigirl and that someone can be, say, "ume demimenina" or "um demimenina" and not just "uma demimenina" (ume is an article and it means a, with the -e being changed depending on the person's word ending, even though um is usually used instead of umo for those who use -o and it's the version that's formally considered correct). If the person is afraid of getting misgendered, I would recommend using demimulher (demiwoman) instead, since mulher (woman) and homem (man) are completely separate words and don't depend on word endings.

But, sure, this problem can also be avoided by using demiboy and demigirl. However, deminonbinary is translated as demi-menine, which means anyone who uses -e as a word ending (the one widely considered neutral even though there is no formal gender neutral language sets in Portuguese, think they/them if it was just a popular neopronoun set) will be communicating they are deminonbinary. Huh.

Besides, transfeminine and nonbinary woman were words translated with -a as a word ending, which I believe assumes anyone who uses these identities will use the equivalent of she/her, while the same thing happens in the translations homem não-binário e transmasculino with the use of -o. Why would someone who assumes those things consider this a problem while translating demigenders?

There are other inconsistencies on the translations, as I pointed out, so it's not like it's impossible, though.

The other thing I'd like to mention is that andrógine can either mean a translation of androgyne (the gender) or a translation of androgynous (the gender quality, like feminine or masculine). My interpretation is that andrógine without a flexible word ending means androgyne, while andrógine with a flexible word ending means androgynous. Here are some examples of what I mean:

  • (she/her) She's an androgyne. → (a/ela/a) Ela é uma andrógine.
  • (she/her) She's androgynous. → (a/ela/a) Ela é andrógina.

I would go on to use this "rule" for other genders: when the English word ends with the letter E, I consider it's not a flexible word ending.

Translating in bulk

I started in 2016 as something I could do with my fiancée (a website, since she's a programmer) and that would help me have something to link to in Portuguese with information about my queer identities, and also about other queer identities so other people could do the same.

Nowadays, there are over 250 terms on our list of nonbinary identities. Most of the initial translating was done by me, but there was a point where I tried to make a round table discussion where future translations would be discussed. However, even though I called it months in advance, not many people answered the poll before the round table, or participated in the round table. Those who did participate were mostly chat regulars already, so I never called for another round table.

Here are some things that I had decided when translating before the round table:

  • Non-English prefixes didn't need to be translated, but could be adapted in case the Portuguese language wasn't used to some letters or letter combinations. For instance:

    • Aporagender → Aporagênero
    • Gyaragender → Giaragênero
    • Femgender → Femigênero
    • Fissgender → Fisgênero
  • English prefixes, when whole words, should be translated and affixed to the end, in a way that makes more sense for a Portuguese-speaking reader. For instance:

    • Blurgender → Gênero-borrão
    • Graygender → Gênero-cinza
    • Stargender → Gênero-estrela

Note: Those words are actually gramatically wrong; hyphens shouldn't be used that way. However:

  1. Gênero-fluido (the translation for genderfluid) uses an hyphen;

  2. The hyphen makes it so it's easier to understand these as whole words and "formal" terms, rather than just gender + a characteristic. Think about the difference between cutegender (a specific identity) and cute gender (a gender being described as cute, not necessarily cutegender and/or gendercute);

  3. The hyphen also helps the reading of bigger words, since gênero-inconformista is easier to read than generoinconformista, for instance (and prefixes in Portuguese are usually not whole words);

  4. Some words were allowed to retain their hyphens after the reform that made it so those hyphenated words ceased to be formal grammar, because they are "acclaimed forms". I want to at least pretend these gender identities will continue to have hyphens for being acclaimed forms.

  • Words beginning with gender should also be translated and hyphenated. For instance:

    • Genderflux → Gênero-fluxo
    • Gendervague → Gênero-vago
    • Gendervoid → Gênero-vácuo
  • Most gender identities that don't have gender as a prefix or suffix (such as maverique, juxera and neutrois) should be left as they are. However, when they aren't notorious enough to have a lot of people using them before the translation and they don't look like they could be words coined in Portuguese, adaptations can and should be made.

One example of an adaptation is for the word I use the most for my gender, which is nonvirmina. The -a ending has the connotation of perhaps signaling an -a word ending, and the word is rather long; I rearranged the word as inavire, changing non- to in-, reducing -mina (from femina) to -na and changing the order of -na- and -vir-, while also adding an -e to the end to further enhance the point that the identity describes something away from binary genders.

I tried to have nonpuella and nonpuer adapted as well (even though I find their adult counterparts nonera and nonvir compatible enough with Portuguese, the letter combinations "ll" and "np" are usually no-nos), but no one else cared when I brought that up, so I left them as is.

  • Terms that are the equivalent of [adjective describing gender] [gender] should have their adjectives be coherent with the word gender (which uses o/ele/o, the equivalent of he/him in Portuguese). Otherwise, gender identities should have flexible word endings (with -e being used as neutral on lists, but people whose language sets use other endings should change -e to what they use). For instance:
    • Agenderfluid → Agênero-fluido (instead of agênero-fluide)
    • Gender neutral → Gênero neutro (instead of gênero neutre)
    • Nullgender → Gênero-nulo (instead of gênero-nule)
    • Fluidflux → Fluxofluide (fluxo uses -o as an word ending, but I'm considering fluidflux/fluxofluide as single words and not as "fluid is being used as a characteristic of flux")
    • Demifluid → Demifluide (even though demigenderfluid, which means the same thing, would be translated as demigênero-fluido)
    • Librandrogynous → Librandrógine

Again, I'm going to give some examples to show the difference between fixed and non fixed word endings:

  • This is Araci. He uses he/him and is demigenderfluid. → Este é Araci. Ele usa o/ele/o e é demigênero-fluido.
  • This is Araci. E uses e/em and is demigenderfluid. → Est' é Araci. El' usa le/el'/e e é demigênero-fluido.
  • This is Araci. He uses he/him and is demifluid. → Este é Araci. Ele usa o/ele/o e é demifluido.
  • This is Araci. E uses e/em and is demifluid. → Est' é Araci. El' usa le/el'/e e é demifluide.

(Of course neopronouns aren't really 1:1 translateable, I just wanted to use some examples that didn't use standard pronoun/language sets.)

  • The sets a/ela/a (she/her) and o/ele/o (he/him), while not mandatory for people who use those identities, are used as the default language sets for gender identities related to being a woman and being a man, respectively, especially when other language sets use the equivalent of neopronouns and weren't being used by the vast majority of nonbinary people at the time.

I don't have any concrete examples since I can't think of anything that wasn't already translated at the time (such as mulher não-binária e transmasculino), but I would translate something like this:

Proxvirs have genders similar to man/male, but their genders are adjacent to it. It's like if their genders were turquoise compared to the blue used for man/male.

Like that:

Os proxvires possuem gêneros parecidos com homem, mas seus gêneros são adjacentes a esse. É como se o gênero deles fosse turquesa, em comparação ao azul usado para o gênero homem.

Instead of:

Es proxvires possuem gêneros parecidos com homem, mas seus gêneros são adjacentes a esse. É como se o gênero delus fosse turquesa, em comparação ao azul usado para o gênero homem.

Here are some things that were decided after the round table:

  • Most of the rules above are ok;
  • However, terms such as melle and faesari (that don't have gender in them) should be left as they are, or besides adapted alternatives;
  • Terms that are difficult or impossible to translate in single words can be left partially untranslated, even if they contain foreign spellings;
  • Nonbinary terms relating to binary genders or gender qualities/elements/alignments should still use e/elu/e as default, instead of a/ela/a for women/femininity or o/ele/o for men/masculinity.

So here are some examples of translations that were decided that day:

  • Astralgender → Gênero-astral
  • Faesari → Faesari or Fessari
  • Cenrell → Cenrell or Cenrel
  • Femil = Femil
  • Melle = Melle
  • Nymhs → Nímise (I think this one was decided as so good we didn't need to also use the original? I dunno)
  • Genderkrieg → Gênero-conflito (conflict-gender) or Gênero-krieg (for those unaware, Krieg means war or wartime)
  • Rubygender → Gênero-rubi
  • Wolandgender → Gênero-Woland

Here are some adaptations that are a bit more complex:

  • Gendershift → Trocatrae

It was agreed that gendershift was too generic a term for something that means "a fluid gender identity that is influenced by what kind of attraction a person is experiencing at any given time".

So, to incorporate "shift" and "attraction" into a single term, trocatrae was coined, with troca meaning replacement and atra coming from atração (attraction) or atrair (to attract). The -e in the end was probably about signaling nonbinaryness and/or not wanting to use "trocatrai", since trai could remind people of cheating (trair means to cheat, but specifically in the relationship way).

  • Joltique → Repentique (sudden + -que suffix), Derrepentique (sort of like the same thing), Gênero-choque (Shock-gender) or Joltique.

Note that jolt has no 1:1 translation, so these were suggestions as to how the word could be more understandable. I made a poll on Mastodon to see if people had a preference, and most votes went to joltique, while derrepentique had no votes.

  • Starfluid → Fluidestelar

Oof, ok, let me start this by explaining this: usually, [prefix]fluid means [prefix]gender, but fluid. So, for instance, ceterofluid means being fluid between ceterogenders, and abimefluid means being fluid between abimegenders. There are some exceptions to this, such as demifluid (which is having a partially stable gender and a partially fluid gender) and kinfluid (when a gender changes with kinshifts). Starfluid is... kind of a middle ground between "stargender but fluid" and something different?

Let's start with stargender. Stargender was coined in january of 2014 by someone named Mars, being one of the earlier aporagender-like words. It was described as a gender that isn't binary, neutral or androgynous, and that perhaps it's the same gender a star would have, because such a thing is as unknown as the coiner's gender.

Mars made two relatively long posts (in comparison to most coining posts) explaining how being stargender feels, which were usually summed up as follows: stargender can describe a gender of a star, a gender beyond comprehension and that seems otherwordly and/or nonhuman because of it and/or a gender for those who don't feel like any word that was or will be coined will fully grasp their gender identities.

Starfluid, however, was coined in a different context. It was coined to be a part of a gender set with several gender identities such as these:

Mercurian: A nonbinary gender that is connected to a soft celestial energy. This energy can feel "gendered", but is neither masculine nor feminine. Someone who is mercurian can also be "void" of gender itself.

Saturnian: A nonbinary gender that is linked to both softer celestial masculine and feminine energy. It is not masculine/feminine aligned, simply linked. The amount of energy one feels can vary and change.

Venusian: A nonbinary gender linked to the void that fluctuates with softer celestial feminine energy.

Starfluid was coined as follows:

A form of genderfluid linked to either the energy or the aesthetics of space/stars. Someone who identifies as starfluid can be fluid towards any gender as the only consistency is the tie to stellar energy/aesthetics.

So, it kind of fits in with these other genders linked to celestial energy, but it's also not limited to being fluid between those genders, and it isn't limited to being stargender but fluid either, even though it could be those things. I would say it's more expansive than caelfluid (caelgender is an umbrella term for gender identities related to space and such), since someone can, say, be gender neutral but still have some sort of connection to space/stars.

If we translated starfluid as gênero-estrela-fluido (stargenderfluid), it would seem like it's more related to stargender than it is. If we translated it as, say, estrela-fluida (fluid-star), it might seem kind of weird, even for gender terms?

Eventually, fluidestelar was suggested, which works as a separate word and looks nice. It's kind of like "stellar fluid" but mashed into one word.

  • Zodiacgenders (gêneros do zodíaco): gênero-Signo (Sign-gender)

Honestly, zodiacgenders are kind of weird as a set. Most of them were coined independently and they don't have any specific theme; some of them are agingender/agender-spec identities, while others are unknown genders or genders outside of the binary or identities within the genderfluid umbrella. If their names and symbols were changed, no one would consider all of them to be part of the same set.

The problem is, while some genders have prefixes I don't mind keeping (libragender → libragênero, aquarigender → aquarigênero), some of them needed to be adapted (a friend of mine didn't like that I used scorpigênero instead of escorpigênero, since words in Portuguese usually can't begin with sc, and I was afraid of the day someone would request saggitariusgender or ophiuchusgender to be added to the list). Since these genders often have similar names - zodiac sign + gender - and even those that don't are still recognizable as a shortened version of the zodiac sign + gender, I wanted to settle for something that would apply to all zodiacgenders.

We settled on every zodiacgender being translated as gênero-[Signo], like, gênero-Áries, gênero-Touro, gênero-Gêmeos, gênero-Câncer and so on. Existing translations also would be kept, as in, someone who's aquarigender/genderflow can say they are either aquarigênero or gênero-Aquário in Portuguese.

The lack of translated vocabulary on other areas is a problem

Hatch's Law says if anything exists, there could be a gender identity based on it. And, well, in a less meme-y sense, gender identities can be influenced by any kinds of life experiences; no one would be a woman or man if those weren't existing constructs, and people can feel alienated by those or other constructs and build their own. This means there are gender identities based on personal beliefs, races, disabilities and so on.

In my opinion, this mainly becomes a problem with gender identities based on plurality and kin, since there's few/no vocabulary that has actually been translated/adapted about those subjects. Even people I've met within the lusosphere that are plural and/or kin mostly use English words, unless there's an obvious translation for them (such as system → sistema), and even then, not always (median system → sistema median instead of sistema médio or sistema mediano or something like that).

Having to use English words (because I don't want to impose my translations to groups I'm not a part of) is annoying, since nonbinary people in Brazil are constantly policed for suspicions of being the tools of imperialist colonizers who are imposing those views on gender that supposedly shouldn't exist in this country. Nowadays, I try to avoid using any kind of English words or expressions in public, even though they come to me naturally since I've spent large chunks of my life in English-speaking spaces and are well known enough to be understood by other Brazilians, so I can avoid getting that kind of "criticism" (read: hate comments and public shaming).

When obvious translations have conflicts with other words

I made a poll on Mastodon to see what people would like to see as an adaptation of a gender identity named lykh. The winner was laique. Sometime later, I uploaded a laique emoji, and some time after that someone questioned having a pride flag for secular people (pessoas laicas; -ca(s) turns into -que(s) when the word ending is changed from -a to -e). Oops.

Again, the difference between a lykh (ume laique) and a secular person (uma pessoa laica) is that the gender identity laique will always be laique no matter what word ending the person uses, while laique as in secularism will have the end of the word changed depending on the person or the thing that is being referred to as secular.

Here are some examples of other words that ended up being similar to each other:

  • Neutric (a neutrois person who likes neutrois people) → Nêutrique (the word ending is flexible)

  • Neutrique (a neutral, autonomous gender) = Neutrique (the word ending is not flexible)

  • Femaric (a LGBTQIAPN+ person who likes women) → Femárique or Femínique (the word ending is flexible)

  • Feminique (a feminine, autonomous gender) = Feminique (the word ending is not flexible)

  • Xenic (someone whose gender alignment is xenogender, or a specific xenogender) → Xênique (the word ending is flexible)

  • Xenique (a xenic and autonomous gender, although I think maybe the coiner meant xenine since it would make more sense within its set) = Xenique (the word ending is not flexible)

Also, if someone ends up coining something like xungender, genderfire, or something like that, that may give me a hard time (since xungênero means xumgender and gênero-fogo means firegender).

Let's finally talk about orientations (and juvelic terms)

The coining of orientations also began happening in bulk on Tumblr, but there was another space where it happened a lot, which is AVEN. Sure, it's mostly a-spec orientations, kinds of orientations and related terms, but, yeah, that happened and these are important terms.

AVEN has a forum in Portuguese, although I have no idea as to how they are related. Did someone just ask permission? Was it a forum regular who had extensive conversations with AVEN staff? No idea. Anyways, there were way too much people using terms such as "assexuated" in there, so I never sticked around much. However, they had a vocabulary list, where the translation work for the words themselves was usually minimal. This list was either copied from other places, or other places copied for it, since there are a bunch of ace blogs with the same vocab list. Here are some examples:

  • Asexual → Assexual
  • Burstsexual → Burstissexual
  • Demisexual → Demissexual
  • Fraysexual → Frayssexual
  • Graysexual → Grayssexual
  • Lithsexual → Litossexual

As for kinds of orientations, romantic, platonic and aesthetic were always kind of straightforward. For instance:

  • Panromantic → Panromântique
  • Panplatonic → Panplatônique
  • Panaesthetic → Panestétique

(Note that all of those word endings are flexible, so "she's aromantic" could be translated as "ela é arromântica" and "he's polyaesthetic" could be translated as "ele é poliestético".)

Hurdle #1: Attraction/relationship types

Some blogs at the time I started translating mentioned alterous as is. For some reason, the blog Assexualidade Brasil (at least) uses an hyphen when describing alterous orientations, such as bi-alterous instead of bialterous.

I couldn't find anything about what is the etymology of alterous, but considering what it means (Roswell, homoalterous melle and someone who was heavily involved with coining queer terms, described alterous as a nonbinary attraction that covered anything that wasn't fully platonic or romantic while still not other orientation kinds, including but not limited to what's between or adjacent to platonic and romantic and completely different stuff), I decided to translate it as atração alternativa (alternative attraction).

So abroalterous would become abroalternative, analterous would become analternative and so on. The -e is, again, changed depending on the person's own word ending.

Queerplatonic was usually translated as queer + platônique (as seen above), and this is what I usually use (there is no widely accepted translation for queer). People who don't want to use queer because it's English can use quasiplatônique instead (from quasiplatonic), but that can be annoying since quase (which sounds the same as quasi in a lot of accents) means almost, and many people may not want to say they are "almost platonic".

However, I don't think I can accurately translate quirky with a single word, much less with something that also starts with Q. Fortunately, though, I don't think I have ever seen complaints regarding wanting to describe this attraction without using queer or quasi. I would probably recommend using alterous (a wider umbrella term) or just platonic instead (since it's often used that way) if someone came to me with that problem.

Sensual attraction is a weird one (with regards to translation). I think people before me had translated it as sensorial and I was criticized for using sensual because "sensual means something different in Portuguese, it's a sexually loaded word here", even though one of its definitions in English is literally "sexually attractive". I usually say people can describe that attraction as either sensual or sensorial, and I guess I'll just hope that if someone coins a sensorial attraction in English with a different meaning it never gets popular.

Orientations/attractions/relationships other than romantic and sexual are rarely discussed in general, so I usually don't make a point of listing or translating every possible attraction. Here are some other terms I translated but won't go into further detail about:

  • Amorplatonic → Amorplatônique
  • Variship → Varicionamento or Varirrelação (relacionamento means relationship and relação means relation)
  • Wavership → Ondulacionamento or Ondação (onda means wave)

Hurdle #2: English prefixes

Remember that gender identity thing where I usually translate [noun/adjective in English]gender as gênero-[noun/adjective in Portuguese]? That doesn't work so well when -sexual and -romantic are only used as suffixes. Some non-English prefixes can also get weird.

Three options here:

  • Keep English names, hope people don't complain they are in English;
  • Adapt English names, hope people don't complain they are ugly/weird;
  • Find and/or coin a separate alternative, hope people don't complain the word is irrecognizable.

I usually try to use more than one of those options:

  • Gray/Grey → Gray/Grey, Cinza (Portuguese for gray) or Gris (Spanish for gray, idea by Oltiel)
  • Itheri → Íteri or Itheri
  • Klape → Clape or Klape
  • Morphe → Morfe or Morphe
  • Omni → Omni or Oni

Hurdle #3: (Usually juvelic) terms based on English words

You might have heard/seen sapphic around. It's a term for WLW (women loving women, as in, women who are attracted to women, not necessarily in a romantic way), and it's for women who may or may not be exclusively attracted to women, but who are attracted to women regardless.

It's a way to describe relationships between two or more women (who might not necessarily be lesbians, since women attracted to multiple genders and aren't lesbians exist), or an attraction a woman might have for one or more other women.

Because a lot of spaces were either for WLW or MLM (men loving men), nonbinary people started coining their own words involving them, and making spaces based on those words. So we have, say, enbian (nonbinary people loving nonbinary people), toric (nonbinary people loving men) and trixic (nonbinary people loving women).

Toric and trixic were based on the -tor and -trix suffixes on words such as actor and dominatrix. In Portuguese, most of the words with those suffixes end in -dor and -dora, but there are remnants of words ending in -trix such as atriz (actress). So we decided to translate toric into dórique and trixic into trízique at that round table.

Eventually, some nonbinary people with multiple genders decided to start coining words such as iridian (someone who is nonbinary and a woman who is attracted at least to nonbinary people and women) and opalian (someone who is nonbinary and a man who is attracted at least to nonbinary people and men). After that, a lot of terms were coined, which I've collected here and that can also be seen here.

After that, some people also started coining terms for more specific identities, such as people whose genders and/or orientations are fluid between specific states, xenogender people, agender people, bigender people and so on.

So... I'll admit I didn't try to find what all juvelic terms are based on. However, a few of them were translated based on their base words:

  • Marblic → Marmórique (marble → mármore)
  • Pearlian → Peroliane (pearl → pérola)
  • Thistlian → Cardoane (thistle → cardo)
  • Wisterian → Gliciniane (wisteria → glicínia)

Both ambárique (from âmbar) and amberique are accepted translations for amberic, though.

Other terms

AFAIK, it was Cari Rez Lobo who either translated intersex to intersexo (sexo meaning sex) or popularized it. However, I've seen some people within the intersex movement wanting to drift to intersex instead, since apparently all other languages also use intersex, including Spanish. This is just something that was said to me, even though ABRAI (the Brazilian Intersex Association) uses intersexo a lot publicly and I haven't seen any push towards intersex recently.

Because of this, I've translated altersex as altersexo, and I would translate other words ending with -sex to -sexo.

With regards to the -genital words (angenital, bigenital, faunagenital, xenogenital and so on), I use them in the same way (genital is an existing word in Portuguese).

Same goes for -expressive (transexpressive, interexpressive). The difference is that these words have a flexible word ending, so for someone who uses o/ele/o, we can say "ele é interexpressivo" (he's interexpressive).

Most of the non-LGBTQIAPN+ derived community names/acronyms were never translated. What I use nowadays is NHINCQ+ (não-hétero, intersexo, não-cis, queer and so on), which can be said out loud in Portuguese as nhin-que-mais. Since English doesn't have the "nh" sound, I never bothered to try to popularize that in the anglosphere. Some people use queer. Most are still using "LGBT", "LGBTs", "LGBTI", "LGBT+", "LGBTI+" or "LGBTQIAP+", though (when I have to, I use LGBTQIAPN+). I've also seen ALGBT around, which is amusing to me since I've lived through a-spec discourse.

Neolanguage and language sets

I coined neolinguagem around the time I was trying on new language sets and such. It's derived from neopronouns, but as someone reading through this can already see, language sets go way beyond that.

If someone speaks or is learning to speak Portuguese and is interested in details, I've written about my decisions regarding language sets here and stuff about neolanguage can be found here.

To simplify things, I usually ask people to say what is their article (artigo), pronoun (pronome) and word ending (final de palavra). Just like pronouns in English, there are more kinds of articles and pronouns in Portuguese than the ones that are being asked for. The word ending is also not a formal thing, since it covers a bunch of different kinds of words.

I'm not a teacher so I'm not sure if this will actually help someone who doesn't already speak Portuguese or a similar language, but here are some examples of where these words go:

Article examples (with formal articles a and o and neoarticles e, i, ze and le)

the professional:

  • a profissional
  • o profissional
  • e profissional
  • i profissional
  • ze profissional
  • le profissional

Pronoun examples (with formal pronouns ela and ele and neopronouns elu, elz, ile and el)

[she, he, ze, etc.] is cool:

  • ela é legal
  • ele é legal
  • elu é legal
  • elz é legal
  • ile é legal
  • el é legal

this is [hers, theirs, eirs, etc.]:

  • isso é dela
  • isso é dele
  • isso é delu
  • isso é delz
  • isso é dile
  • isso é del

that artist:

  • aquela artista
  • aquele artista
  • aquelu artista
  • aquelz artista
  • aquile artista
  • aquel artista

Word ending examples (with "formal" word endings a and o and neoendings e, i, y and el)

my cutest friend:

  • minha amiga mais fofa
  • meu amigo mais fofo
  • mi(nhe) amigue mais fofe
  • mi(nhi) amigui mais fofi / mínhi amígui mais fôfi
  • mi(nhy) amiguy mais fofy
  • mi(nhel) amiguel mais fofel / mínhel amíguel mais fôfel

(People can choose whether they want to use minh[ending] with a flexible word ending or if they want to just use mi instead. They can also choose if they want to keep the original pronounciation and grammar rules, which dictate those accents in words ending with -i or -l, or if they want to maintain the default structure of those words when written and either change the strongest syllable or ignore accentuation rules.)

So, in English, people usually have pronoun sets that are relatively fixed. Someone using he/they will accept either he/him/his/his/himself or they/them/their/theirs/themself(ves), someone using "she pronouns" will accept she/her/her/hers/herself and someone using e/em will likely use e/em/eir/eirs/emself.

In Portuguese, a lot of people are attached to certain parts of the default or most used language set elements, but don't want others. So even though the formal sets are a/ela/a and o/ele/o, and the most used neutral sets are ê/elu/e and e/elu/e (which is already a variation within a single set that's otherwise untouched), plenty of people will use sets such as ê/ele/e, a/ila/a, ze/elz/e, le/elu/e, le/el/e and so on.

As I already said before, there is no 1:1 translation for most pronoun/language sets. Even someone using ely/elym or eni/enis might not want to use ely or eni as pronouns in Portuguese, since neolanguage besides the goal of having a gender neutral set is so heavily stigmatized even within the nonbinary community.

They/them is usually regarded as neutral, so it can be translated as whichever set the person translating is using as neutral. It/its is already more complicated; ilo was suggested since aquilo means "that thing" and isso means "this thing", but even then, should the default neutral be used for the rest? Should we just use something that's uncommon but not too rare?

Nounself pronoun sets can more or less be adapted by spreading the word out. Fireself pronouns may be translated as, say, fo/ogo/o (fogo meaning fire). Even so, the -o ending is associated with the set that can be translated as he/him, so it's not necessarily ideal.

I can say that maybe I would translate fae/faer as af/aef/ae, ze/hir as i/éli/e and xe/xem as xe/elz/e, but these are arbitrary choices that can be chosen differently by other translators or by people who use neopronouns in both languages.

I really hope this is an interesting read to translators and people interested in nonbinary terminology alike. I'd love to know more about the experiences of people who have to go through these things in other languages as well. :)